How to Open a Coffee Shop in Tennessee

Welcome to Tennessee sign

Welcome! If you want to learn how to start a coffee shop in Tennessee, you’ve found the right resource.

You don’t have to navigate this process alone or pay expensive franchise or coffee school fees. Our 7 Steps to Coffee Shop Success program can help you start a thriving coffee business in Tennessee. Let us guide you through each step of the way.

Why listen to our advice? Our coffee shop consultants have helped over 400 other entrepreneurs start successful coffee shops in 30 states. Many of these shops are still thriving five, 10 or 20 years later, and some entrepreneurs have opened several coffee shops.

Our coffee company began as a small business in 1991. Over three decades, we’ve won major awards, including Roast magazine’s 2016 Macro Roaster of the Year. Plus, we have over two decades of experience in starting and running coffee shops.

Entrepreneurs in Tennessee cities and towns like Dickson, Johnson City, Limestone, Sevierville, and Sweetwater have received assistance from our skilled consultants in starting and expanding their independent coffee shops.

Through our proven program, we can help you develop a strong coffee shop business plan. We’ll also help you calculate coffee shop startup costs using proprietary pro-forma financial statements.

If you’re an aspiring coffee shop owner, teaming up with Crimson Cup can make the process smoother and quicker, with fewer challenges to overcome. We offer a one-stop shop for independent coffee shop owners, providing expert input on finding a terrific location, laying out your shop, hiring and training staff, and marketing your business.

Access to award-winning coffee and quality coffee shop products will help keep your customers coming back for more.

Keep reading to learn more or call 888-800-9224 now to connect with our coffee shop consulting team!

Tennessee is a Great Place to Open a Coffee Shop!

Nashville, Tennessee skylineAre you considering starting a coffee business? Look no further than the vibrant state of Tennessee, where the business environment, community, and coffee culture blend together to create the perfect backdrop for your caffeinated dreams.

In Tennessee, there are only seven major coffee chain outlets for every 100,000 residents. The Volunteer ranks 41st in coffee shops per capita. A study by Zoma Sleep counted 7,681 Tennessee residents for every coffee shop in the state.

It is an undeniable fact that Americans love coffee. Over 62 percent of us are Java drinkers,  averaging three cups per day.

Moreover, demand for high-quality espresso-based drinks is on the rise, with a 50 percent increase in consumption of cappuccinos, lattes, and mochas since 2015. These specialty coffee drinks are especially popular among 25-39 year-olds.

All these factors point to fertile ground for opening new coffee shops in Tennessee. Read on to learn more.

Small Tennessee Cities and Towns Present Big Opportunities

Small town TennesseeIf you’re looking to start a coffee shop in Tennessee, it’s worth considering opening one in a smaller city or town that isn’t served by major coffee chains. This is especially true for areas outside of Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, and Chattanooga.

Many cities and towns in Tennessee’s 95 counties lack a gathering place where locals can get together over a cup of coffee.

Does your city or town need a local coffee shop? Opening a coffee shop in Tennessee is a great way to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for locals to unwind while enjoying a delicious cup of coffee or espresso.

By starting your own business, you can contribute to the growth of the local economy, while generating revenue and job opportunities for the community. This is especially important in rural areas where employment options may be scarce.

So, if you’re looking to open a coffee shop in Tennessee, you’re on the right track to building a stronger community.

Tennessee is Open for Small Business

Tennessee provides an excellent setting for opening a coffee shop. With more than 600,000 small businesses, the state strives to foster an entrepreneurial environment that supports success.

In fact, Forbes magazine ranked the state fourth in the U.S. for ease of doing business.

You can find a wealth of resources covering business formation and operation on the State of Tennessee government website.

This website assists small and medium Tennessee businesses with:

  • Assessing the feasibility of starting a business
  • Writing a business plan
  • Choosing a legal business structure (many coffee shops operate as sole proprietorships or limited liability corporations.)
  • Getting a business license and various other licenses and permits, including local health department licenses for food establishments.

The Tennessee Business Enterprise Resource Office also publishes a Smart Start Guide, which has tools to help you visualize your business model and connect with resources across the state.

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center has resources to help you start, grow and sustain your business.

Get a Head Start with Our Coffee Shop Startup Experts

Training a baristaAs a coffee roaster and coffee business consultant, Crimson Cup believes our company only succeeds when our customers do.

As a result, we support coffee shop owners at every step, from concept through opening day and beyond.

A one-stop shop for independent coffee shops, Crimson Cup supplies award-winning coffee and industry-leading coffee shop equipment and supplies.

Based on the book, Seven Steps to Success: A Common-Sense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee by Crimson Cup Founder and President Greg Ubert, our program covers everything business owners need to run profitable coffee shops:

  • Writing a sound business plan
  • Choosing a terrific location
  • Calculating startup and operating costs
  • Designing an efficient shop layout
  • Choosing an espresso machine and other coffee shop equipment
  • Training your baristas
  • Marketing your shop to attract customers
  • And much more.

Backed by over 30 years of specialty coffee know-how, our 7 Steps to Success program has taught hundreds of entrepreneurs in over 30 states how to open and run successful independent coffee shops. We love small businesses.

To learn more about how members of our community became successful in their communities, check out our testimonials.

Tennessee Coffee Shop Owners Recommend the 7 Steps to Success

Our coffee shop customers in Tennessee say they saved time and money and grew their coffee business faster by following our 7 Steps to Success.

But don’t take our word for it. Read on to learn how two coffee shop owners describe their experience in working with our team.

Open Doors Coffeehouse, Johnson City, Tennessee – Founded 2016

Staff behind Open sign at Open Doors Coffee House in Johnson City, TenneseeIn 2016, Owners Sherry and Michael Marion followed our 7 Steps roadmap to coffee shop ownership to create Open Doors Coffeehouse at 101 E. 8th Ave. in Johnson City, Tennessee.

Housed in a former Long John Silver’s restaurant building, Open Doors has become a gathering place for locals.

“Our mission is to provide a great place for terrific coffee, service and community,” Michael Marion said. “We are locally owned and very connected with the community.”

“We like to see our front porch as a place to connect with people in the adjoining neighborhoods,” he added. “We have loved on and redeemed this little corner in Johnson City.”

Voted the best coffee shop in the Best in Johnson City awards for the past several years, Drive-thru at Open Doors Coffee Shop johnson city tennesseeOpen Doors serves a full menu of hot, iced and frozen espresso drinks – including mochas, lattes and cappuccinos – as well as iced coffee and tea, cold-brewed coffee, hot chocolate, fruit smoothies and other custom drinks. Belgian Liege waffles, biscuits and gravy, and a variety of muffins, scones and other sweet treats round out the menu.

Sherry Marion says friendly service is central to the shop’s success. “Our staff knows customer names, personal details and, of course, the way they like their drink,” she said. “They love that we sometimes have their drink ready as they walk in or pull up to the drive through!”

Our 7 Steps to Success team has supported the Marions from the very beginning of their coffee journey.

“When my husband began thinking and dreaming of having a coffee shop, he discovered Crimson Cup,” Sherry said.

“He went to visit their Columbus, Ohio headquarters and decided we would benefit by partnering with this company. Crimson Cup has done a lot of the hard work by figuring out and fine tuning processes and finding what works best.”

“There’s so much you have to consider and figure out,” she added. “It’s much simpler to have Crimson Cup provide layout, equipment, products and training as a proven system.”

Michael said our hands-on training and ongoing availability has been “incredible,” adding, “I have found their consultants to be kind, friendly and very available to help.”

“I would absolutely encourage others to seek out Crimson Cup’s help,” he concluded.

To support the local community, the Marions collaborate on discount cards for many organizations, offer discounts to several businesses and house local artisans’ work.

“We desire to continue to grow and be a substantial source of income for our non-profit, Rise Up for Kids!” Michael said. “We started this local ministry in 1994.”

Cup Runneth Over Coffeehouse, Sweetwater, Tennessee – Founded 2018

Street view of Cup Runneth Over Coffeehouse Sweetwater TennesseeAfter 24 years as a Registered Nurse, Kendra Moreau was feeling stagnant in that profession and in life. “I was reflecting and praying and felt like God was leading me to open a coffee shop,” she said.

Despite her dream, Kendra knew only enough about coffee to brew a pot in the morning before her shift at the hospital. She turned to our 7 Steps program for guidance.

“I searched online and then bought the book and knew this was a great fit,” Moreau said. “I love feeling like we are part of a family. Everyone at Crimson Cup has been so kind and helpful.”

Customer and baristas inside Cup Runneth Over Coffeehouse Sweetwater TennesseeAfter renovating a vintage downtown building and working through training with Crimson Cup, Moreau opened Cup Runneth Over Coffeehouse at 111 N. Main St., Suite A, in Sweetwater in March 2018.

The shop serves a full menu of hot, iced and frozen espresso drinks – including mochas, lattes and cappuccinos – as well as iced coffee and tea, cold-brewed coffee, hot chocolate, fruit smoothies and other custom drinks.

Rounding out the menu are an assortment of sweet and savory treats such as maple bacon scones, baked apple fritters, muffins, cinnamon rolls, peanut butter energy bites, baked oatmeal and quiche.

As she worked through the 7 Steps, Kendra found two steps especially helpful: Step Five, Focus on Training; and Step Six, Customer Service.

“I told 7 Steps Trainer Steve Bayless while he was here training us that I could not even imagine trying to do this without such expertise and history of coffee,” she said. “But customer service ranks above all. It’s not what you do or say, it’s how you make customers feel!”

Part of her mission in creating a Cup Runneth Over Coffeehouse was to fuel the revitalization of historic downtown Sweetwater. “We believe coffee is more than a product,” she said. “It’s a bridge to community…a space that fosters relationships that matter over products that taste and do good.”

At its essence, she said, “This little coffee shop is about relationships. We hope that when you walk into our door you feel the love of the Father and know that you have a home here and are always welcome.”

Ready to Start Your Tennessee Coffee Shop Journey?

Begin by reading the book that put hundreds of other coffee shop owners on the road to success!

Backed by a risk-free guarantee, Seven Steps to Success: A Common-Sense Guide to Succeed in Specialty Coffee lays out a map for creating a thriving business serving your local community.

Inside the book, you’ll find a proven template for creating a solid coffee shop business plan, plus guidance on everything you need to get up and running.

Questions about opening a coffee shop? We’re here to help!

Call 888-800-9224 to connect with our coffee shop consulting team during regular business hours. Nights and weekends, you’re welcome to fill out this form, and we’ll get back to you within one business day.

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